Supplies for Advanced Art Journaling
1 Faber Castell Gelato’s: These fun water soluble sticks glide on creamy smooth and add vibrant colour. They blend easily with water and when dry, set permanent. The metallic ones I highly recommend.
2 Paint: Any paint you have on hand is a great start. Watercolours for example make great backgrounds. I generally use student quality acrylic paints as they are cheap and quite transparent. As I am doing lots of layering I want the previous layers to be seen underneath. The only colour I buy best quality is white. Start by buying the primary colours: blue, red, yellow, practise mixing them together and adding in black and white. Then buy hard to mix colours such as purple and bright pink depending on your preferences.
3 Scalpel: Scalpels are fabulous for hand cutting stencils out of paper or card. Use a craft scalpel with a fine point and thin blade.
4 Paintbrushes: Start with a few cheap paintbrushes. I use a wide flat brush for spreading glue and Mod Podge, and thinner brushes for painting details.
5 Lead pencil: & eraser: Any pencil will do. I lightly sketch my layouts, lettering and trace around shapes and cut outs. Any standard eraser is OK, try to keep it clean.
6 Stippling brush: For applying paint through stencils. I have 3 or so as they are best used dry and I hate having to go to the sink to wash and dry them constantly. I find the thinner stipple brushes work best as many of my stencils have several designs per stencil sheet and I only want to use one design or use different colours.
7 Foam brush: I use a foam brush for washing colour over backgrounds.
8 An art journal: Choosing an art journal is a very personal thing. I prefer an A4 art journal, though my first two art journals were A5. I prefer the larger space as it seems to be easier to plan and fill. Many stencils are designed 12×12 and suit an A4 open page spread. Choose a journal with a page thickness of 125 gsm or greater. Thinner pages permit paint, ink and glue to seep through and stain the next pages (even if using gesso). Thinner pages also become fragile when wet or gluey. I also recommend an art journal that is sewn together rather than spiral bound. I have found that the inner edges of spiral bound journals stick together as art journaling is usually messy. I also work on a double page spread each time so a spiral journal feels broken in the middle and therefore lacks cohesiveness. Many people just start with whatever they have on hand: old diary or exercise book, a sketch pad or notebook and glue two pages together to strengthen the pages. You will probably try a few art journals before you discover what you prefer.
9 Faber Castell Pitt Big Brush Artist Pens: These delightful pens are Indian Ink, waterproof when dry, lightfast and acid-free. The properties of these pens are unlike any other pen I have encountered. When applied over areas finished with Mod Podge the ink is able to be moved around for a brief time with a wet paintbrush or your finger to create smudged and blended highlights and shadows. I use these mainly on my She Art girls.
10 Glue: I use craft glue (dries clear) mixed with a little water or Mod Podge to adhere papers onto my art journal.
11 Spray Inks: Spray inks are one of my favourite products, I use them for backgrounds on 80% of my pages. They work fabulous with stencils, lace, doilies, fabric, canvas as well as straight onto the page. I use Dylusions, Perfect Pearls Mists, Heidi Swapp Color Shine ink sprays, and make my own ink sprays from food dye, Gelatos and fabric dyes.
12 Stamps: I probably use about six sets regularly. Things such as lace & doilies, chicken wire, florals, alphabets, flourishes & frames, butterflies, birds and dragonflies are good general stamps you can use often. I have many varieties – rubber stamps mounted on wooden blocks plus unmounted acrylic and rubber stamps I use with a perspex block. I also stamp with household items such as the end of a cardboard tube, bubblewrap, an orange & string stuck to a rolling pin. Acrylic paint can dry quickly on stamps and become permanent, so wash immediately after each use.
13 Jet Black StayzOn Ink Pad: This awesome acid-free, archival solvent ink pretty much stamps on any surface including over the top of ink sprays, paint, glue, Mod Podge, canvas and texture paste. I use background stamps or alphabet stamps in my art journal about 70% of the time.
14 Paper: I recycle junk mail, maps, music sheets, dictionaries, books, magazines, children’s book illustrations, envelopes (look inside) wrapping paper and tissue paper in my art journal. Op shops are fantastic sources of fun paper. Sometimes the vintage atlases or dictionaries are so old and falling apart they tell me to just take it, it’s free. Throw nothing out, keep a drawer or box near your craft area that you just throw everything in.
15 Scissors: For goodness sake if you are going to be cutting paper, buy a decent pair of scissors! I love my EK Success Cutter Bee scissors. A great pair of paper craft scissors is worth the initial investment.
16 Stencils & Masks: Stencils and masks are the quickest ways to add colour and interest to a background. I would suggest the first stencils you buy be patterns you can use for your background like small circles, chevrons or flowers for example. I use my alphabet stencils all the time as backgrounds and to stencil individual words. Two great ways to make stencils and masks is to cut designs out of paper or light card with your craft scalpel or use your die cutting machine. I keep all of my masks and stencils and reuse them. I use both paint and spray inks with my stencils and masks. Wash plastic stencils immediately after each use to prevent staining.
17 Black Pens: Good black pens are vital for journalling, doodling and adding details. I recommend the black Faber Castell Pitt Big Brush Artist Pen for thick lines. It is Indian Ink, so it writes on so many surfaces and is permanent when dry. I recommend the black Uniball 1.0mm Gel Impact pen too. It has a roller ball that continues to write despite slightly wet paint or glue, and is permanent when dry.
White Pens: I use a white pen for journaling and adding details and highlights to my pages all the time. I recommend the white Faber Castell Pitt Big Brush Artist Pen for thick lines. It is Indian Ink, so it writes on so many surfaces and is permanent when dry. For medium thick lines I recommend a Sharpie water based paint pen with an extra fine point. For fine lines I recommend the Uniball Signo broad gel pen.
Download the Supplies for Advanced Art Journalling as PDF here.